Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Copying isn't good for you - it's GREAT

If a school kid copies another student's work, it's called cheating. But copying in the world of work is not only tolerated but actively encouraged. Businesses copy from each other all the time - they just call it 'benchmarking' or 'identifying best practices'.

Anyone who wants to succeed should copy more too. 'Cause all around you, there are successful people, achieving great things. As a business psychologist I coach managers and entrepreneurs on how to achieve more. So I always say: Why reinvent the wheel?

If you're an entrepreneur and you meet someone who has a winning manner when charming investors, why not try to adopt some of their techniques? If you're trying to climb an organisational career ladder, look for the people who seem to be shooting up the hierarchy - what is it they say or do that has them on the fast track? Perhaps they have a certain way of handling conflict that accords them respect. Or maybe it's their ability to schmooze and get noticed by the right people.

A warning though. This isn't about wholesale copying. It's about being selective - about spotting the particular phrases or behaviours you might want to add to your repertoire. The CEO may appear committed and passionate when he bangs his fist on the table. You'll seem like a petulant child.